BY JORDAN SMALL
The Canmore Eagles survived a lopsided first period with minimal damage to avenge their only loss of the season on Sunday (Sept. 23).
The junior A hockey team beat the Calgary Mustangs 6-2, with five unanswered goals being scored in the second and third periods of the game in Calgary.
The Mustangs had been previously undefeated, but Eagles’ defenceman Mark Drohan had a two goal and four point game to crack Calgary’s goose egg.
The veteran blueliner was named AJHL Defensive Player of the Week following the win.
Eagles forward Colton Young had a goal and three points, forward Taden Rattie scored twice, and Daly Hamilton had a goal.
Goaltender Logan Dyck made 44 saves on 46 shots to pick up the win.
The Eagles got it together after a “horrendous” first period, where they were down 2-1 and outshot 27-8.
“It was an awful start,” said Andrew Milne, Eagles head coach and general manager. “We had a bit of a chat in between periods and came out much better in the second.”
Milne said the first period wasn’t the Eagles’ brand of hockey.
“We want to play consistent and disciplined and that was not disciplined hockey.”
The Eagles picked up five minor penalties in the first, which the Mustangs were unable to capitalize on, but were still able to strike twice at full strength.
“(Eagles’ forwards Owen) Reith and (Nolan) Steer didn’t hit the score sheet, but they were instrumental on that score sheet,” Milne said. “They limited damage and they played outstanding on that penalty kill.”
Eagles’ blueliner Hamilton got a shorthanded goal late in the period to cut the lead in half going into the second.
Rattie got the Eagles the lead with back-to-back powerplay goals, then, in the third, Young chipped in with the Eagles’ second shorthanded goal of the night and Drohan had a powerplay goal and empty netter to finish out the game.
The Eagles are now 1-1 with the Mustangs this season and are 3-1 (six points) overall, which ties them for second in the AJHL South Standings with the Brooks Bandits and Drumheller Dragons.
“Forget the rest of the league,” Milne said. “We’re showing ourselves where we’re at. We felt we needed to come out better and play for us. 3-1 is a good start, but it’s not an end result.”
The Eagles head north Friday and Saturday (Sept. 28-29) to Camrose for an AJHL Showcase Weekend where they’ll play two north division squads.
On Friday, Canmore takes on the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and on Saturday, the Lloydminster Bobcats.
It’s business as usual, said Milne.
“It’s a big weekend and there’s lots of excitement to play in front of all the scouts, but realistically it’s another weekend of hockey,” he said.
Photo credit: Aryn Toombs RMO file photo